A device created by a team of Oklahoma experts is now getting national attention. The Self-Initiated Prone Powered Crawler (SIPPC) will be put on display at the Smithsonian Innovation Festival in Washington, D.C. the last weekend of September.
The robot was invented by Dr. Thubi Kolobe and built by a team of engineers. It was designed to allow babies with mobility challenges to learn to crawl by leading the robot and getting movement support.
It's one of 13 inventions chosen to be on display at the Smithsonian.
Dr. Kolobe said most babies learn to crawl within the first 8 months of life. And that's the same period when there's rapid growth in their brain.
But when children with cerebral palsy are impacted by muscle challenges, they may not be able to crawl that quickly. That’s where the SIPPC comes in.
“It’s only when they can explore and when they can access the environment that they can actually now start to interact with many of the objects in the environment that are useful for learning,” said Dr. Kolobe.
So the baby is on its tummy, using arms and legs to decide where to go, and gets help from the robot.
Every move is tracked and the transmitter cap shows researchers how their brains are triggered.
It’s an invention pivotal to a baby's learning process, now getting high praise.